Smith was a key component of the Texans defense from that first season in Houston through 2013. In 2011, he finished with 6.5 sacks and a Pro Bowl selection, and Houston made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The 2011 Texans defense allowed the second-fewest yards in the NFL, and was fourth in the League in points allowed.
“In my opinion, I felt like we were the best defense in the league,” Smith said. “There were some weeks we were competing for number one, number two. But the way I felt about our team was, healthy, we were unstoppable. Both those years, we were just fighting injuries.”
Smith had many nicknames during his tenure in Houston, one of which was the “Ninja Assassin”. After sacks, he’d celebrate by unsheathing and swinging a pretend samurai sword.
“I got to be me,” Smith said. “That’s who I am. We wanted to create something that can give us some excitement, so we went home and created some things.”
Smith moved on to the Raiders in 2014, and then won a Super Bowl ring with the Broncos the next season. He came back for a 13-game run in Houston to close out his career in 2016. That second stint with the Texans was a fun one for Smith, albeit under different circumstances.